Distributed March 30, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Scott Turner

Barnes Lectureship in Public Health

Dame Cicely Saunders, hospice movement founder, to speak April 19

On Thursday, April 19, 2001, at 4 p.m. Dame Cicely Saunders, M.D., will deliver a lecture titled “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Reflections on End-of-Life Care,” in Andrews Dining Hall, located on the Pembroke Campus of Brown University. Her lecture is free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Dame Cicely Saunders, M.D., one of the world’s leading experts in care of the dying, will present the lecture “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Reflections on End-of-Life Care” at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19, 2001, in Andrews Dining Hall on the Pembroke Campus of Brown University. Her address is the second annual Dr. and Mrs. Frederick W. Barnes Jr. Lectureship in Public Health.

The lecture will be proceeded by a research poster session in Andrews Dining Hall from 2 until 3:30 p.m. That session and the lecture will be free and open to the public.

Trained as a nurse, medical social worker and physician, Saunders is recognized as the founder of the modern hospice movement. “My talk will sum up the early work and development in hospice, the current situation in both the developed and developing worlds and my hopes and plans for the future,” she said. It will include several patient stories.

Since 1948, Saunders has been involved in the care of patients with terminal illness and has lectured and written extensively on the subject.

It was as a medical social worker that she found patients often suffered unrelieved pain and isolation. “One patient I had gotten to know well had, during our many discussions, summed up the need for a new kind of care,” she said.

Saunders worked to develop a place where people could die with dignity, surrounded by family members and treated by specialists trained in end-of-life care. She formed her ideas by listening to patients at the end of their lives and to their families as she treated and supported them, both as a social worker and later as a physician.

“The patients themselves needed a voice and thus their stories, which I had recorded on tape, together with my seven years of research on the nature and treatment of terminal pain, were used widely in articles and in lecturing,” she said.

In 1967, Saunders founded St. Christopher’s Hospice, the first research and teaching hospice linked to clinical care. (St. Christopher’s is affiliated with King’s College, University of London.) From that pioneering hospice, palliative care – a medical discipline that addresses the patient’s physical, mental, social and spiritual needs – has spread worldwide.

“Dame Saunders exemplifies a life committed to advocating for a group of patients that have been largely ignored by medicine,” said Joan Teno, M.D., associate director of Brown’s Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. “Through her vision and determination, hospice is now available worldwide, and millions of dying people now receive medical care that focuses on their needs and expectations.” Teno is also associate medical director at Hospice Care of Rhode Island.

Saunders holds more than 25 honorary degrees. Her awards include the British Medical Association Gold Medal, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the Onassis Prize for Services to Humanity, the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute’s Four Freedoms Award. Saunders was awarded the Order of Merit, England’s highest honor, by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989.

The Barnes Lectureship in Public Health honors Frederick Barnes, M.D., a founding faculty member of the Brown Medical School, and his wife, Catherine. It was endowed by Brown alumnus James S. Zisson ’74, in memory of Norma and Miles Zisson ’38. This year’s lecture is dedicated to Mrs. Barnes, a former social worker, who died last September.

The event is sponsored by the Brown Medical School Public Health Program in conjunction with Public Health Research Day.

For more information about the lecture, call (401) 863-1634.